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Kenya horticulture exports drop 7pc in 2019 to Sh142.72 Billion

There was an increase in production of horticultural crops in 2019 particularly for Flowers (7% Increase) and Fruits, representing a 7 percent increase.

There was however a decline in export vegetable production from 98,414,278 in 2018 to 72,733,461 in 2019 representing a 26% decrease.

The value of fruits increased by 2.8 per cent from Ksh. 12.8 Billion in 2018 compared to 13.2 billion in 2019. Flowers exports decreased by 8 per cent from Ksh. 113.2 in 2018 to 104.4 Billion while the value of vegetables also decreased by 8.3 per cent from Ksh. 27.7Billion in 2018 to Ksh. 25.4 Billion in 2019.

Floriculture remains the highest foreign exchange earner in Kenya’s exports. Consisting of about 70% of the horticulture export earnings. Roses remains the highest single crop that contributes to these earnings.

The value of flower exports has reduced from Kshs.113.1 billion in 2018, to Kshs.104.4 billion in 2019 representing approximately Sh9 billion losses in value. This is against the fact that the export volumes increased from 161.2 million kgs in 2018 to 173.7 million kgs in 2019.

The decrease in the value of flower exports is mainly due to the fact that the bulk of Kenya’s flowers are sold through the auction in Europe and hence low prices.

In 2019, the value of export earnings from fruits was Ksh 13.2 billion, a slight increase from Kshs. 12.8 billion in 2018. The volumes in 2018 was 75,500 tons and increased to 81,800 tons in 2019. The increase was attributed by increase in

Pineapple exports from value of Kshs. 29 million to Kshs. 850 million, this variance is attributed to efficient data capture by the directorate from large exporting company.

Avocado remains the single highest exported fruit taking 80% of the total value at Kshs. 10.6 billion in 2019 with a slight reduction from Kshs.10.8 billion in 2018.

The volumes in 2018 stood at 65,000 tons and in 2019, the volumes reduced to 59,300 tons. Despite this reduction in volumes, the price was higher (Kshs. 12,000 per ton) than the previous due to closer monitoring of the quality being exported and adherence of the exporters to the regulations (closing and opening seasons).

The avocado is most exported as a fresh fruit and opportunities for value addition should be exploited (cosmetic & cooking oils, guacamole). China despite its stringent rules has provided an opportunity for processing as frozen avocado and at the moment only one company is compliant.

Mango remains a crop that has high potential for exports to other destinations other than the Middle East. However, the fruit fly remains a challenge. To address this, we shall sensitize our stakeholders to adopt the “Hot Water treatment” in order address post-harvest controls on the fruit fly. This is will complement the field management of the fruit flies.

Value addition on the fruit remains lowly tapped (dried mangos, fruit pulp and pickles). We are encouraging and providing technical support to our farmers to increase value added produce in line with the Big 4 Agenda.

The value of vegetables dropped slightly from Kshs. 27.7 billion in 2018 to Kshs. 25.4 billion in 2019, representing 8 percent decrease. Mixed vegetables still accounted for the biggest export crop in this category at 49.5% and beans at 22.3% in value.

Herbs and spices also reduced marginally from Kshs 3.5 billion in 2018 to Kshs. 3.3 billion in 2019. The volume of vegetables exported dropped by 26 percent from 98,414,278 kilos in 2018 to 72,733,461 kilos in 2019.

The reduction in volumes can be attributed to adverse weather conditions including drought in the beginning of the year and heavy rains that spoiled the produce. There were also some interceptions on Kenyan vegetables due to non-compliance and especially presence of pesticide residues.

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